Preaching, welcome, style of worship and location are the four most important factors when Christians are searching for a new church.
And of these, the most important is the quality of the sermon.
Nearly half of the American adults who attend religious services regularly have found themselves needing to look for a new congregation at some point in their lives, the latest Pew Research study shows.
The most common reason for changing church is moving house.
More than eight in ten of those surveyed cited the quality of preaching as influencing their choice. Nearly as many said it was important to feel welcomed.
Three-quarters say the style of worship helped them choose.
Seven in ten said location was an important factor.
Currently, half of American adults attend religious services regularly once or twice a month.
About a quarter of these attend religious services more often than they did at some other time in their adult lives
Nearly a quarter of all American adults also say they now go to religious services less often than they used to.
While those who go more often say this is because they have become more devout, those who go less often cite practical reasons such as being too busy or struggling to get to church, mosque or synagogyue.
When checking out a potential new place of worship, people preferred to visit or talk to existing members rather than rely on online reserch.
The findings emerged in Pew's Religious Landscape Study, where more than 35,000 adults were surveyed by telephone. There was also further study of more than 3,000 adults.